The 2016 Vintage Port was picked mainly from 19 September in ideal conditions. It is more broody than the 2017 at the moment and demands a little more encouragement from the glass. I have been prudent with my reviews in the past, but this 2016 seems to have considerably improved in the four years since I last encountered it. More earthy in style, it offers lovely dusky black fruit, sage, a touch of menthol and star anis, unfolding in the glass with each swirl. The palate is medium-bodied with a velvety entry. Superb tension here, the acidity cuts through the richness of this Port with effortless ease. Linear, poised and mineral-driven, Vintage Port gets little better than this. Tasted at the Quinta do Noval tasting at Spring restaurant in London.
Anticipated maturity: 2027-2070
Robert Parker 97
"The 2016 Vintage Port is a field blend, mostly Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca, Tinto Cao and Sousao, aged for 18 months in old wood. It comes in with 82 grams of residual sugar. This was in bottle for only about seven weeks when seen, but I made sure at least some of it had a lot of air. It looks super, with plenty of room to grow in the cellar. Christian Seely likes to say that this regular Noval and the Nacional are not better than one another, just different. In fact, I usually prefer Nacional, but in this vintage I make a case for equality and endorse that view. This was stunning from the first smell, promising concentration, intensity of fruit and great things to come. It had a 100-point nose that made me go ""wow!"" No wine I tasted had a better nose than this. Violets and blue fruits lead off, with a trace of eucalyptus. I tend to think Noval is a producer that always shows mid-palate finesse, but this seems pretty deep too. It is also intense. The tannins won’t sear your mouth because the balance is impeccable. To be sure, it might close down, but it is surprisingly approachable now, notwithstanding that intensity. Rest assured that this lively young Porto still has all the materials to make old bones. Needless to say, ""approachable"" does not mean ""ready."" You need to toss this in the cellar for a decade, at least. Purists will say to double that or more. When the palate becomes as expressive as the nose-if it does-this will be entitled to an uptick. No pricing was set yet."
Anticipated maturity: 2026-2075